Gerard Pique has assured Barcelona fans that he does not want to overstay his welcome at Barcelona and will retire as soon as he no longer feels wanted at the club.
Now approaching 35 years old, Pique remains a core part of the Barcelona setup. He starts every game when fit and appears to have shaken off the nasty knee injury that cost him such a large part of the 2020/21 season.
While there's no denying that Pique, whose contract runs until 2024, is approaching the twilight of his career, the centre-back revealed that he does not plan to stick around if he is not going to be a regular starter.
"The other day I saw the record that I was the oldest to score a European goal for Barça and it depressed me for the worse. I wish I hadn't scored!" he joked to El Pais. "Then I saw that I was the defender with the most goals in the competition with Roberto Carlos and that was better.
"Of course I'm getting older and when I see that I am not as important as I have always been, I will go. I don't know, I still have the rebellious Gerard spirit, I'm still the kid who makes the same jokes. And when I am physically well, I feel good. I won't be the fastest, but I can compete against the best and not feel inferior. As long as it's like that, I'll play.
"I will retire at Barça. That is certain. What I will not accept is to retire as a substitute. Let's see, if it's the last three months of a season and it's my turn to sit out, that's different. But a whole year on the bench? No, I don't feel like it."
Pique also took the chance to admit that he has never felt his position as a starter is under threat as much as he does now, with Barcelona also able to call on Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia, Clement Lenglet, Oscar Mingueza and Samuel Umtiti at the back.
"I've never felt this much competition for places," he said. "But it's not a bad thing.
"As a young man, you learn at what level you can compete. At 19 years old and on loan to Zaragoza, I discovered that I could do it in the top division against the greats. At 34, you already know what level you have, if you are going to play or not."